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Broken roadsMany Americans rarely think about earthquakes. Those that occur tend to be low-level quakes. They create little damage. Yet, many areas of the country are at a high risk for significant quakes.

Few home insurance policies provide earthquake coverage. Those at risk need to update their policy to reflect this risk.

California Residents Are Taking Notice

After the recent large earthquake in Mexico, many California residents are looking at their policies to determine if they have coverage. The last earthquake to hit the Los Angeles area dates back 1994. At that time, a 6.7 magnitude earthquake struck the area of Northridge. It caused $44 billion worth of property damage. It also left 57 people dead. Such a large earthquake is not necessarily common in California. However, due to California's location near active fault zones, it is very possible.

Over this long span of limited earthquakes, many residents of California stopped maintaining coverage. Why pay for a risk like this? While the percentage of residents that have this coverage is less now, it is still an important investment. According to the Los Angeles Times, only 10.8 percent of residents in California had earthquake coverage for their home as of the end of 2016. In 1994, 33 percent maintained a policy, according to the California Department of Insurance.

And, it is not just those in California that need it. Many people throughout the country can benefit. Even areas with low risk may wish to consider this investment.

Does Your Plan Offer Coverage?

Homeowners should contact their insurer. Verify if the insurance policy offers earthquake coverage. If it does, check the amount of protection provided. If it does not, consider a supplemental plan. It is possible to purchase a separate earthquake insurance policy. This is something all residents in California and other high-risk states need. Other high-risk states include Alaska, Nevada, Hawaii, Washington, Wyoming, Idaho, and Montana. Your California home insurance agent can discuss the risks in your area with you.

There is no way to prevent damage to a home from an earthquake. There is very little warning it is occurring. There is no way to know when an earthquake will happen. Yet, it can cause thousands of dollars of loss. Many homeowners cannot afford this type of loss. Earthquake insurance is an option. Home insurance can offer this protection. It can minimize risks for those in high-risk areas.

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